To George Washington
Thursday Apr. 29. 1790.
Mr. Jefferson has the honor to submit to the President draughts of letters to Mr. Short and the Marquis de la Luzerne. As to the former he asks his attention to the paragraph respecting the devices for the Medal.—He hopes he will change and accomodate the letter to M. de la Luzerne to his own ideas of the part that gentleman acted, and of the length proper to go in expressing our sense of it. The President was a witness, where Th:J. had only hearsay evidence, and may therefore have formed ideas not just.—He will have the honor of waiting on the President tomorrow on these subjects.
RC (DNA: RG 59, MLR); endorsed. FC (DNA: RG 59, SDC). Not recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) TJ to Short, 30 Apr. 1790. (2) TJ to La Luzerne, 30 Apr. 1790. Washington himself wrote to La Luzerne on 29 Apr. 1790 (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, xxxi, 39–41; FC in Humphreys’ hand, DNA: RG 59, MLR).
Washington recorded in his diary on this date the substance of TJ’s findings on the practice of other countries, and added: “Fixed with the Secretary of State on the present which (according to the custom of other Nations) should be made to Diplomatic characters when they return from that employment in this Country—and this was a gold Medal, suspended to a gold Chain‥‥ The Reason why a Medal and Chain was fixed upon for the American present, is, that the die being once made the Medals could at any time be struck at very little cost and the chain made by our artisans, which (while the first should be retained as a memento) might be converted into Cash” (Washington, Diaries, ed. Fitzpatrick iv, 123–4).